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Province wins, the budgets are boring

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Well, that was certainly an exciting and controversy-filled school board budget process, wasn’t it?

Yawn.

City councillors will really have to work this year to get into high dudgeon over those irresponsible spendthrift school trustees, who usually crank up education property taxes instead of freezing taxes the normal way — by raising money dipping deeply into people’s pickets for higher user fees and non-tax levies.

But I digress.

With three school boards still to hold a formal vote before Tuesday’s deadline, it looks as though Manitoba’s six largest school divisions, all of them in the city, will accept Education Minister Nancy Allan’s tax incentive grant in exchange for freezing school property taxes.

Trustees are saying that they won’t have to cut jobs, programs, or services, but neither will students and parents see much if any improvements or enhancements to public education in Winnipeg. When trustees take TIG, they agree to hold spending increases to whatever the combination of TIG and their division’s increased share of provincial operating grants will cover.

Turning to other things.....

Yes, that’s child the elder in today's sports section here. He was at the hockey game in Phoenix Tuesday evening, 10,910 km into his bicycle journey around the U.S. You can check out what he had to say about Phoenix here.

Meanwhile......alas, Roger Ebert’s review of Battle: Los Angeles was pretty abysmal. I’m off tomorrow because I work a lot of Sundays, and I’m planning on going to the matinee, likely alongside a whole lot of fanboys who only come out of their parents’ basement to see this kind of flick.

The clip Jon Stewart showed last night of the marines taking on the alien invaders looked pretty cool.

And switching topics again, this isn’t education, though I could argue that I’m learning you real good about something you might not have known......we’re flying back Saturday night from Toronto after visiting child the younger at the end of our vacation, and we get to Westjet at Pearson, feeling really superior because we’ve printed out our boarding passes at the hotel in Peterborough, and we get scolded for not having printed out and attached our baggage tags.

Huh?

Sometime in the two weeks between leaving Winnipeg and flying back, Westjet brought in a new system that requires passengers to print out and apply their own baggage tags, instead of having the agent do it at the counter after weighing your bag and verifying your boarding pass.

Sigh.

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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